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The healthy eater’s guide to brunch


Photo: Bondi Harvest
Photo: Bondi Harvest
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There’s nothing better than a post-yoga date with your BFF for matcha lattés and Instagram-worthy smoothie bowls. (Fact: IRL catch-up time does wonders for your happiness and longevity.) And while we won’t opt for a weekly bottomless-boozy brunch, we’re all for filling our lives—and tables—with poached eggs and good company.

Ready to up your at-home brunch game—or just want to be a bit smarter when it comes to your a.m. restaurant ordering? We can help with that; from avocado soufflés to vegan pancakes, the possibilities are (deliciously) endless.

Keep reading to see the top healthy brunch staples, no two-hour wait required.

Get Started
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Photo: Lindsey Johnson
Photo: Lindsey Johnson

Smoothies

The classic healthy morning ritual is perfect for post-spin class sipping and on-the-go Sunday walk-meets-brunch dates with your BFF. Transform all of your favorite vitamin-rich fruit and veggies into energizing fuel with the help of your trusty sidekick—aka, the blender.

You can go green or opt for other colors of the rainbow, since there are infinite ways to change up your mornings. If your smoothie sometimes gives you brain-freeze, you can even sip on a warm smoothie—it’s like having a hot cup of coffee, except with a major nutrient boost.

Looking for a recipe with celeb-status? Gisele Bundchen likes hers loaded with tropical fruits—mango, papaya, and pineapple—and superfoods like spirulina and cacao

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Photo: The Lusty Vegan
Photo: The Lusty Vegan

Pancakes

Whether you like yours stacked high and topped with berries, or prefer a short, savory sampling, there’s a place for pancakes at every brunch table—no matter your diet.

Coconut flour makes for perfect Paleo pancakes, while replacing eggs and butter produces a to-die-for vegan stack (pictured above). Gluten free? This recipe will eliminate any chance of FOMO. Don’t forget the brain-boosting pure maple syrup, either!

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eggs, brunch
Photo: Breakfast: Recipes to Wake Up For

Eggs

Don’t be fooled by the boring “scrambled or fried” menu options; this protein-packed brunch staple is practically begging you to get creative with it. Whether you prefer yours poached over a bed of greens or whipped into a healthified soufflé (featuring that other brunch staple, avocado) that would make Julia Child proud, eggs guarantee an easy, nutritious start to your day.

Gather your RBF (that would be Running Best Friends) around the breakfast table and dig in to this skillet of kale shakshuka. Or, if you don’t want to spend the morning hovering above your frying pan, try these veggie-loaded brunch bars—they can be made in advance for the I-woke-up-like-this brunch hostess.

And, okay, if you’re a real traditionalist (no judgment!) who has always wondered how long it takes to cook the perfect hard boiled egg, or how to make a soft—but not runny—scramble? We’ve got you covered.

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healthy granola
Photo: Pure Elizabeth

Yogurt parfaits

Think of this as the deconstructed smoothie bowl. Let’s start with your base. If you’re in the mood to get DIY, make your own yogurt (for your dairy-free guests, opt for coconut yogurt).

As for the crunchy topping, not all granola is created equal, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a brunch no-no. Mix together your favorite nuts, seeds, and dried fruits for a good—and good-for-you—version of the morning staple. If you’re short on prep time, make sure to opt for a brand that keeps sugars to a minimum and says no thanks to fillers.

Hosting a no-cooking brunch party? Prep a super cute toppings bar, with in-season fruit, bee pollen, cacao nibs, or even some savory options (like olive oil) for a mix-and-match option.

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Zingy White Beans and Tomatoes toast
Photo: Better on Toast

Toast

You can probably whip up avocado toast in your sleep at this point, but the semi-sandwich possibilities don’t stop there. Get creative with zingy white beans and tomatoes (pictured above) or mix sweet and savory ingredients on this Madagascar banana toast. Like to start your day with a kick? A tomatillo mash and fried egg sandwich will wake up your tastebuds.

And when in doubt, throw a poached egg on top (we particularly endorse pairing it with roasted sweet potatoes and sautéed kale). Just make sure you reach for a loaf of fermented bread before you get toasting. 

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Photo: ILove Vegan
Photo: ILove Vegan

Smoothie bowls

The beloved brunch bowl is as nutritious as it is double-tap worthy. And if you’ve only ever ordered it on brunch dates with your workout buddy, get your blender ready. Choose superfoods like acai, pitaya, or greens as your base and top your bowl with your favorite granola, berries, or nuts.

Overwhelmed by all the choices? Try this mango and banana smoothie bowl for fruity, revitalizing spoonfuls, a Raw Chocolate Bomb for a sweeter start, or this chia oat pitaya blend for a gorgeous, nutrient packed bowl. They’re bound to be beautiful, so you may want to enforce a “no phones at the table” policy to keep the focus on actual human interaction.

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Photo: Amparo Rios
Photo: Amparo Rios

Milk

Let’s be honest: Whether you’re mixing it into your cup of tea or pouring it over a bowl of granola, milk has its place at the brunch table. And while we can’t all milk a cow to fill our glass with calcium, there are plenty of milk alternatives that can be made in your own kitchen. Choose between pistachiocashew, or almond macadamia milk for a nutty start to your morning.

Feeling adventurous? Give protein-packed vanilla quinoa milk or superherb-loaded turmeric milk a try.

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Photo: The Hanging Spoon
Photo: The Hanging Spoon

Oatmeal

There is so much more to porridge than just the packaged instant stuff. The fiber-rich grain has cholesterol-lowering super powers and is incredibly versatile—perfect for pleasing sweet and savory cravings alike. Want to add some extra protein? Mix in egg whites for a high-protein take on the timeless dish (we dig the fluffy texture, too). When you master the art of oats, swap in quinoa to add some super-grains to your morning routine.

And don’t forget the power of a well-curated selection of toppings: There are drool-worthy options for every eater at the table, so we’re pretty sure that one of these Goldilocks-approved porridges are bound to hit the spot. Or if you love the idea of a warm bowl of oatmeal but are off gluten, try this Paleo take on oatmeal—you’ll never guess the secret, grain-free ingredient!

Meals are good excuses to get your favorite people around the table. Looking for more IRL-bonding time? Here’s how to host your own women’s circle